Friday, June 5, 2020

‘The S-word’: how young Americans fell in love with socialism

She joined the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), a rapidly growing big-tent movement that has drawn in former communists and fired up millennials. With that has come debate not only about pay, housing and proposals for universal basic income, but a reappraisal of the role of the government in people’s lives in favor of greater state intervention. Ask what socialism is, and Katbi looks to the campaign by the Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, in this year’s British election. “The people I’m friends with who don’t identify as socialist are definitely supportive of certain socialist policies, like single-payer healthcare,” said Katbi. “With the Bernie phenomenon, suddenly you’re able to utter the S-word in public,” said Nick Caleb, 35, a long time leftwing activist who joined the DSA shortly after the election, as membership of its Portland branch surged. It would be a fatal mistake not to recognise there's a whole mass of white working-class people who can be won over To an older generation of leftwing activists, that sounds a lot like the New Deal – President Franklin Roosevelt’s bold attempt to remake the American economic system and rein in the forces of capitalism in response to the Great Depression of the 1930s. There are few socialists elected to public office in the US today. But if we stay just with identity politics then we can’t grapple with the class forces that are producing the system of stratification and oppression in the United States.” That means winning over the large numbers of low-income working people who voted for Trump, a task complicated by the sense that the left is dominated by identity politics. “We won’t be able to build a mass movement for any of the social democratic reforms, let alone for a fundamental shift toward socialism, if we don’t create an opening for those many people who voted for Trump,” said Sawant. “Who are these people?
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